A DEARTH of renewable energy loans has been blamed on over-zealous lenders chasing “low hanging fruit” and an end to a government-backed subsidy programme.
In May, Assetz Capital closed its Green Energy Account (GEA) and in March, defunct P2P platform Trillion Fund paid off its final renewable energy loan. Both platforms have blamed a lack of new loans and an end to government subsidies for the failure of their green initiatives.
However, Bruce Davis, joint managing director of Abundance Investment, told Peer2Peer Finance News that most P2P lenders were disproportionately targeting lower-risk operational loans in the renewable energy space, and ignoring the opportunities in infrastructure and construction.
“In terms of operational assets, there is an abundance of money chasing too few deals at the moment,” said Davis. “The big money tends to go after the low hanging fruit which is operational assets. This means that it is challenging to compete for project tenders in this sector.”
According to Theresa Burton, chief executive of Trillion Fund, the end to government subsidies meant that Britain’s emerging wind and solar sector was unable to scale up to meet demand, and this is what caused deal flow to dry up.
“The last three years have been a difficult transition for the industry in wind and solar,” she said. “The cuts were too hard and too fast. It didn’t give the sector time to adjust to the economics.”
Meanwhile Stuart Law, chief executive at Assetz Capital, confirmed that the end of the subsidy scheme was largely to blame for the end of the GEA account, but he pointed out that the GEA did invest in some green energy construction projects.
“The subsidy reductions created a situation where far less entrepreneurial development was taking place for us to fund,” said Law. “The wind turbine industry has hit critical mass now, with very substantial contributions to national energy needs, and we took the opportunity to simplify our lending back to property-secured loans”
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